|BABER, JESSICA - Texas A&M University|
|WICKERSHAM, TRYON - Texas A&M University|
|PLACE, SARA - Elanco Animal Health, Inc|
|Rotz, Clarence - Al|
Submitted to: American Society of Animal Science
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/20/2020
Publication Date: 7/19/2020
Citation: Baber, J.R., Wickersham, T.A., Place, S.A., Rotz, C.A. 2020. Effects of management strategies on environmental footprints of cow-calf production in the United States[abstract]. American Society of Animal Science. P.1.
Interpretive Summary: No Interpretive Summary is required for this Abstract Only. JLB.
Technical Abstract: Estimates of beef cattle production’s national and regional cradle to farm grate environmental impacts have been quantified. As baseline footprints are established, cow-calf dietary and production management strategies can be evaluated to mitigate these impacts. Our objective was to quantify environmental changes from implementing management strategies in cow-calf production. Ten management strategies were identified with each related to animal performance, feed management, or pasture management. Each strategy was incorporated into a representative cow-calf operation for each of 6 major regions of beef production in the United States and simulated with the Integrated Farm System Model (IFSM) using local soil and climate data. A combined strategy was also identified based on results of the initial strategies, which was simulated with IFSM. Farm-gate life cycle assessment was used to estimate carbon (C) footprint, fossil energy use, blue water use, and total reactive nitrogen (N) loss for all production systems and strategy combinations. Averages of each environmental metric for the cow-calf sector were based on weighted averages of regional cow inventory data. Averaged across all strategies, the reduction in C footprint was 4.1% and fossil energy use was reduced 3.5% for the cow-calf sector. Feed efficiency and terminal cross strategies had the greatest effect on C footprint and fossil energy use. Feed efficiency reduced blue water use to a greater extent than assigning a national water footprint for corn (9.2 vs 8.4% reduction, respectively). Early weaning increased C footprint, fossil energy use, blue water use, and reactive N loss by 13.8, 17.8, 20.4, and 12.7%, respectively. A combined strategy including improved feed efficiency, improved fiber digestion, calf implant use, increased weaning rate, reduced cow body weight, and terminal cross strategies reduced C footprint, fossil fuel use, blue water use, and reactive N loss each by 16 to 19%.